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One of the connecting strands in this major biography of the Australian historian W. K. Hancock (1898–1988) is the question of his shifting reputation. Hancock was a son of the vicarage, who took out a brilliant First at the University of Melbourne. Arriving in Oxford, via a Rhodes Scholarship, as ‘a dreadfully purposeful young man’, he went on to a glittering career.
History at the Crossroads. Australians and the Past is the latest work from Paul Ashton and Paula Hamilton, founding editors of Public History Review and the co-directors of the Australian Centre for Public History based at the University of Technology in Sydney.
In the inaugural issue of the Journal of Pacific History in 1966 Jim Davidson, the first Professor of Pacific History at Australian National University, considered the historiography of the island groups of the Pacific Ocean and called for innovative methodologies to interpret the ‘multi-cultural situations’ of island communities.(1) His manifesto appeared as
The Pacific forms part of the series ‘Seas in History’ edited by the late Geoffrey Scammell. Already published are the volumes about the Atlantic, the Baltic and North Seas and the Indian Ocean. The historiography of seas and oceans has an illustrious tradition (Fernand Braudel, Kirti Chaudhuri, O. H. K. Spate, J. H.
The bowels of university libraries are often cluttered with the remnants of past historical approaches. The Cambridge History of the British Empire (1929-59) is one such work.
Georgine Clarsen has produced a fascinating account of women motorists in the first three decades of the automobile age. Her crisp and elegant prose takes the reader on a speedy trip over a wide range of terrain, indicating the importance of the car in the cultural politics of the early 20th century.
It is disturbing for an Australian to discover that debates about genocide often do not move very far beyond the classic area of study – Europe under the Nazis – before someone mentions the antipodes. Genocide is a crime, in other words, for which Australia is listed among the usual suspects.
Angela McCarthy has written a useful book about Irish emigration to New Zealand, based upon 253 letters that passed between the two countries over a period just short of a century. This review discusses the author's methodology and findings through the perspective of two analytical tools, Alice's Letters and Shanacoole Exceptionalism.
The Australian launch of Hammerton's and Thomson's history of postwar British migrants to Australia took place at the end of a one-day symposium held at the Migration Museum in Melbourne. The speakers' programme for this event boasted the names of most of the significant researchers in this emerging field: Sara Wills, James Jupp and Mark Peel, to name half of them.